Farhat Aleem Chagla decided to fly high in a year of her life when most people want to retire and do nothing productive. When she was close to the conventional retirement age of 50, Farhat realized she had never worked for a job or business but she longed to do something meaningful in life.
She had discharged her responsibility as a homemaker; her children had grown and flown out of the nest. She was around 50 years old when she decided to embark on a fresh journey in her life.
"There is a child inside every human being. As a child, I loved pop culture. In my school, I spent more time on stage than in the classroom. Later, all that was lost and I moved on with life. After my marriage, responsibilities came my way.”
One day she and her children attended a ComiCon when she was drawn to Cosplay - the practice of dressing up as a character from a film, book, or video game. At the Comicon, something clicked inside her. After the play, she felt her childhood dream of playing on the stage was resurfacing.
Farhar Aleem with a Cosplay artist
“My children encouraged me, and then I participated in the first cosplay and then there was no looking back," she said.
Farhat is the CEO of Sanctum Events Company which organizes Cosplay events in different parts of the country.
“The basic mantra of success in life is enthusiasm, hard work, and belief in one’s abilities. Once you have these, no work is difficult,” Farhat told Awaz-the Voice.
Farhat says "This work is my passion, so I never think of difficulties. Whatever problem came up my way, I found solutions immediately. I did not know the technique of organizing events, yet I never stopped.” She feels it was hands-on training for her.
Looking back she says "I had the experience of taking care of my family. What experiences are lacking in the life of a housewife? Those same experiences have helped me gain respect and prestige in the world of my hobby and passion."
Cosplay is not common in India. It is popular in Japan and gradually it is spreading in other countries. At these events, people wear costumes like characters from a movie, cartoon, book, etc. It’s becoming popular among the youth.
What made her choose to cosplay?
"The meaning of life is different for every person. Before taking a step, one should know what one wants.
“When you get an answer from your heart, you better get involved in that work. In a flash o a second, I realized I was interested in Cosplay."
In the initial days, people were amused, but today they respect me. "My work is food for my soul. I work for my passion and not for money; It's my hobby."
Farhat Aleem said, "Some people work just for subsistence, some for improving their life. However, to me, it's more important to do something that you love. It gives you satisfaction. Also, one must work to give something back to the society.”
She believes one should make one’s allotted time in this world worthwhile. “We should make it more meaningful; become mindful of what one leaves behind for the coming generation."
Farhat says that it is even more important for women to create their identity.
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“A woman is called someone's daughter, someone's wife, someone's mother, etc. throughout her life. If she gets an opportunity to establish her identity, she must try her best.”
She feels women are changing and so is their role in society. Farhat Aleem Chagla says that "Today we are not living a life confined to home and family; the whole world is before a woman and is just a click away. Now it is up to us to use technology or become its slave as remaining neutral is not possible.”
"My age doesn't allow me to run, so I walk. When walking becomes difficult, I sit and work. Whenever there is a need, I will find a way."
Does Farheen have a retirement plan?
Because where there is a will there is a way. Farhat is preparing for the cosplay event. Despite being a business lady, she is still handling the responsibility of the homemaker as before. She says that my dream is to do cosplay events in every corner of India. Hard work and effort are going on for this.